North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Council considers variety of issues

 


Arlington City Council met April 23 to review the launch of an initiative that started during its spring retreat in March.

The city is proposing changing the design guidelines for historic downtown Arlington to standards, which means the guidelines are no longer just recommended, but required. The city is also working toward creating standards for the entire city, under the guidance of Marc Hayes, director of economic and community development.

Hayes said he hopes to have the new standards ready for approval by the end of May.

Road work contract

Council will vote May 7 to spend nearly $2.4 million on utility improvements and pavement preservation, in a proposed contract with lowest bidder Reece Construction Company.

While the bid was a couple hundred thousand over budget, the extra amount will come from the city’s water and sewer replacement fund, according to Public Works Director Jim Kelly.

The replacement of aged and failing water/sewer/storm infrastructure is tied with resurfacing the same streets, as scheduled in the Transportation Benefit District (TBD) Pavement Preservation Plan, Kelly said in council documents. Three bids were opened on April 12.

Public art projects

Council reviewed several proposals of public art projects presented by Arlington Arts Council. If approved by council on May 7, AAC will purchase a $6,000 metal and stone sculpture called Rip Rap by Reg Akright to dedicate to George Boulton, the founder of Flowers by George floral shop, who died in March. The sculpture will be surrounded by flowers in a landscape near the City Hall plaza.

AAC has also proposed a set of six metal fish, called “Steelies,” for a median in front of Cuz Concrete on 67th Avenue, in a project coordinated by AAC board member Monica Bretherton and AAC member Erika Bruss.

Bretherton also proposed loaning a “Dancing Bears” metal sculpture for the landscape next to the new stage at Legion Park for a year, at no cost to the arts council or the city.

AAC will pay for another Haiku Rock for Terrace Park, and, AAC proposes purchasing rights to print a Jack Gunter painting of the Arlington Duck Dash on metal for outdoor use to be placed on a pump house, as part of the new spray park in Haller Park.

The arts council covers the cost of the art projects and the city helps with installation.

Other council decisions

•City council is being asked to approve the release of the city’s interest in a 60-foot wide non-exclusive access easement road crossing a property owned by Opal Properties, LLC, as part of the Arlington Valley Road project.

“With Arlington Valley Road, there will be full access to all lots and the city does not require any interest in the aforementioned 60-foot wide non-exclusive access easement road,” Kelly explained during the workshop meeting.

•Kristin Banfield, communications manager/city clerk, has presented an updated fee schedule which includes all departments in the city and addresses items not included in the Arlington Municipal Code. She told council on April 23 that staff is recommending updates to the planning, public works, EMS and finance fees.

Additional updates will be made in the fall to recreation fees and public records fees, when a public hearing will be held on public records fees, Banfield said.

Most fees are being increased slightly. For example, in Land Use, the zoning fee permit will increase from $2,222 to $2,300, and a temporary conditional use permit will increase from $102 to $125. New fees are proposed for the city’s new Mixed Use Development categories, including $7,000 for a binding site plan.

•Airport staff is requesting that council approve an increase in costs for WH Pacific’s consultant fee for construction management services for the Taxiway Charlie Lighting and Signing Improvements Project, in the amount of $18,000. Last year, the FAA awarded the project grant later than anticipated, which resulted in pushing the project into the winter months, according to documents. Because of the change of timing the decision was made to extend the project from 60 days to 85 days in consideration of shorter daylight hours and winter weather delays. The FAA will pay 90 percent of the increased cost.

•Once again, Finance Director Kristin Garcia requested approval for an inter-fund loan from the city’s Growth Fund to the EMS Fund in the amount of $105,728 for the month of March, as revenues were not sufficient to cover operating expenses. This brings the total outstanding balance on the loan so far this year to $392,418. The loan will be repaid when property taxes are collected.

In her monthly financial report, Garcia announced that the city is now 100 percent in compliance with its reserve policies. Garcia also reported that the state met it’s revenue forecast which means the amount of revenue from marijuana sales will be restored. Arlington’s share of the March distribution was $41,438.

•On April 30, the city was scheduled to meet with representatives from Arlington Public Schools and the Public Health District #1 of Skagit County and #3 of Snohomish County, to discuss new programs. The meeting at the Byrnes Performing Arts Center was to be chaired by Dr. Timothy Cavanaugh, president of PHD #3 Board of Commissioners.

On affordable housing

During the April 23 workshop meeting, Chris Collier, a special guest, spoke about the need for affordable housing around Puget Sound and what the Alliance For Housing Affordability can do to help. He explained strategies such as allowing auxiliary housing on lots, and encouraging cottage style housing, as well as low cost apartments.

 

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